Five minutes before tip-off, every arena in the NBA turns the lights off. For just a moment, a building that will bombard fans with noise, light and action for two-and-a-half hours is pitch dark.
Then, the jumbotron comes to life. In Chicago, the screen shows a pack of bulls galloping through the city. In Houston, a space shuttle orbits a distant planet, dropping off a uniformed Jeremy Lin and James Harden somewhere far from earth. Music begins, the highlight reel starts and the arena goes wild. The NBA intro video has become a staple of the professional basketball experience, with each team trying to outdo its previous year's video to get their players and fans as amped as possible before the tipoff.
In Cleveland, Keith Potoczack and Ryan Hardy of Think Media Studios have been cooking up the Cavaliers' introduction video for four seasons now. While many NBA teams just go with a standard montage of their players gripping a basketball and mean-mugging for the camera, Potoczak, Hardy and the Cavs have shown a tendency to think outside the box. During the last season of LeBron James's tenure, the intro video featured each player as a landmark in Cleveland. Last season, the video didn't feature a single player, opting for shots of downtown Cleveland and a spoken word story about the city instead. For the 2012-2013 campaign, the guys threw Cleveland hip-hop artist Machine Gun Kelly into the mix, creating a huge buzz when they debuted the video on Oct. 30.
"(The Cavs have) always pushed three focuses. It's team, fans and city. Always. It's been like that ever since LeBron left," Potoczak said.
In Cleveland, distancing from the LeBron era can be felt throughout the intro video. We spoke with Potoczak and Hardy to get the inside scoop on what exactly went into creating this year's video. Click the button below to find out how the guys arrived at this year's concept.